Review: The Tower Treasure

Review: The Tower TreasureThe Tower Treasure by Franklin W. Dixon
Series: The Hardy Boys #1
Published by Grosset & Dunlap on 1959
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 180
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed

A dying criminal confesses that his loot has been secreted "in the tower." Both towers of the looted mansion are searched in vain. It remains for the Hardy boys to make an astonishing discovery that clears up the mystery.

First Sentence: “Frank and Joe Hardy clutched the grips of their motorcycles and stared in horror at the oncoming car.”

Last night, my friend and I ended up crashing at another friend’s house. We wanted to drink, so we stayed there and watched a movie and had tasty margaritas made for us in an absurdly tiny blender. Awesome, right? Well, the downside comes when my allergies wake me up at 9 in the morning. I neglected to bring along a book, not planning to be there overnight. At least I have my iPod Touch with some Kindle books loaded on it, I thought. Nope, I forgot it at home. Everyone else is sleeping and I don’t have a book! Obviously, I did what anyone would do, raided their library for something I could read during the morning. That’s how I came to read The Tower Treasure.

To my knowledge, I never read The Hardy Boys when I was younger, though I think I did read a few volumes of Nancy Drew. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I thought it was about two young brothers who solved crimes, but I think I mixed it up with Encyclopedia Brown, which I did read way back when. In fact, the Hardy boys are 17 (Joe) and 18 (Frank). I was rather surprised they were so old since these books are for kids.

The scene opens on a country road with our young heroes riding on their motorcycles. They spot a car coming up fast and swerving all over the road. Fearful for their lives, the boys climb off the motorcycles and climb an embankment, leaving their motorcycles to be completely squashed. Lucky for their transportation, the car turns off the road before it gets there. They get back on their motorcycles and ride away, but the car comes back, having turned down a dead-end road and nearly runs them down.

The boys run their errand, dropping off a package for their detective father (the best in the world) who they totally hero-worship, as good children do. On the way home, they pass the car they saw, now crashed on the side of the road. The driver is nowhere to be seen. Rather than contacting the authorities, Frank and Joe decide to go hang out with their friend Chet.

At Chet’s, the boys find more mysterious doings: Chet’s car has been stolen! LE GASP! Someone took off in his precious yellow jalopy! Seriously, these kids are so spoiled. I’m pretty sure it was fairly rare for people to have cars in 1927 when this was first published, but they pretty much all have transportation and not just borrowed from dear old dad. The boys set out, with Chuck in tow, to chase after the car thief, convinced that their motorcycles are much faster, even though they couldn’t outrun that car earlier. Plot hole, you say?

I don’t want to spoil everything for you, because I’m sure you’ll want to enjoy the unspoiled mastery of the detective work that unspools within The Tower Treasure. Frank and Joe use such unparalleled techniques as: visiting every single shop in town that might have seen a man in a wig, searching every inch of town for Chet’s car with their popular buddies, and asking daddy. These boys clearly have a promising future.

The writing is quite stilted to a modern reader, and I’m not convinced it was even great for the time. One of the boys says “Have you any idea,” which seemed like very odd phrasing for a hip teen. Callie, Frank’s girl, on finding out that Chet’s car has been stolen, responds “that’s a shame.” What a caring girl. Also strange is that, when offered money to help a costume store owner with his inventory, Frank and Joe say they want to work for free because it sounds fun.

Of course, the book also has plenty of sexism. The boys and men in this novel are all working hard to bring down the criminal. The women spend the entirety of the book making food to take to the people affected by the bad guy’s crime spree. No joke. Frank and Joe’s girlfriends keep asking them what’s going on and the boys promise to fill them in later, but never do, because obviously ladies have more important things to do, like make cake. To be fair, the boys do help cook in one scene, but they leave to do some investigating (the call is totally coming from inside the house) and the girls finish the cooking alone.

The mystery plot line itself doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and is rather unsatisfying. The blurb on Goodreads even totally spoils it, so that’s fun. As stupid as most of the actions taken by the Hardy boys to figure out the mystery are, this isn’t the sort of mystery the reader can solve, since the guilty party has exactly no screen time in the book. This is lazy plotting. Also, despite the father’s purported insane skill at being a detective, his sons wrap up the case, which I assume is only because he wanted them to earn the thousand dollar reward and save him some money on their college tuition.

All in all, The Tower Treasure was humorous and gave me something to do with my morning, but I wouldn’t say that it was a good book, nor that I will be hunting down the rest of the series.

Favorite Quote:

“I’ve heard dad say there is no such thing as a clever crook. If he was really clever, he wouldn’t be a crook at all.”

15 responses to “Review: The Tower Treasure”

  1. Steena says:

    The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and Tom Swift are not great literature but I love reading them all the same. I especially love Tom Swift because he uses SCIENCE to solve mysteries, ridiculous Atomic Age science. What about the Harty Boys?

    • Christina says:

      I’ve never heard of Tom Swift. Or the Harty Boys.

      Bahaha, that’s right, with a ‘t’ so it’s not copyright infringement. Wow, this is so weird. hahaha

  2. I read this series in elementary and middle school and loved all seemed so spooky and exciting and then there were the tv shows with dreamy guys…I guess these are a childhood read.

  3. Audra says:

    This whole review is made of win — I don’t wish to be mean, but I hope you have more moments like this, when you raid someone’s shelves for something to read because, ohemgee, hilarious and awesome. I loooved classic Nancy Drew back in the day — so cheesy! so wholesome! so dated! — but haven’t read HB. I might have to give them a try though!

    • Christina says:

      Hahaha, I was so confused when I read this the first time, because I was like ‘why is telling me this is made of win mean?’ No worries. I have totally wished bad books on people for my own entertainment. This was at least entertainingly bad.

  4. Yeah, I think I’ll pass this one (not that I was ever going to read it anyway, but still)… I myself was never a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys girl growing up (I was a Goosebumps girl), but now I know I missed absolutely nothing. I probably read a few Nancy Drew’s growing up but I clearly didn’t like them enough to come back for more, and if I had read one of the Hardy Boys I’m sure I would have thrown it at the wall. And LOL at “Frank and Joe use such unparalleled techniques as: visiting every single shop in town that might have seen a man in a wig, searching every inch of town for Chet’s car with their popular buddies, and asking daddy. These boys clearly have a promising future.” Love this review!

    • Christina says:

      I loved the Choose Your Own ending Goosebumps books. They resemble real life, because I’m pretty sure if I were in a horror I would die immediately, and I sure did in those. Every choice I made was DEAD WRONG.

  5. As a huge Nancy Drew fan, I want to strangle you. LOL. Kidding. I was never really a fan of The Hardy Boys though. But they ARE by the same author, so…

    About the rampant sexism? This book was written in 1927! Of course it going to be loaded with sexist stereotypes. I am worried though because I had intended to stock my shelves with the Nancy Drew originals and now I am worried I won’t enjoy them because of the sexism. I hate that. GAH.

    Nancy was always a pretty strong heroine for that day and age though, so I am not sure if it’s just a Hardy Boys thing since those books were written for boys. Still sucky.

    But yeah, this review was pretty amusing. You should do this more often!

    • Christina says:

      Bahahaha, not the same person. Unless there are pen names involved, which would be SO COOL.

      Yes, I know it was written in 1927, and I know why it’s there, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. I didn’t dock points for it though. You should check Hobbitsies for info on Nancy Drew. She’s collecting/reading the whole thing.

      I suspect I would like Nancy Drew a bit better.

      I will endeavor to be trapped overnight with children’s books more often!

  6. First off, I love the story. I like finding random books to read in other people’s houses. Second, I’m surprised that this series went on for the EONS that it did if the first one wasn’t that great. Thirdly, I’d love to leave a longer comment but I have to go check on the cake in the oven.

    … 😉

    • Christina says:

      Well, times have changed and there’s a lot more children’s lit available than there used to be. Besides, it’s their first case. Presumably they get better and more dramatic as they go along.

  7. My dad has a bunch of these, so I read a lot of them when I was younger, and some Nancy Drew as well. I have actually never seen a review of a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys on a blog until now, and I smiled when I saw this one, because I forgot about these books. I’m sorry you didn’t quite enjoy this one, but they do get better as they go along.

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